What is the biggest challenge your agency faced in the past year?
The biggest challenge over the past year has been continuing to grow our agency while navigating through a “new normal” world and the hurdles it has thrown at us. For one, we have had many customers lose their jobs or become more price-conscious which has put stress on our retention/customer service team. Many customers no longer want face-to-face appointments, as things like Zoom and virtual meetings have become more common practice. This means we must adjust how to do business to best serve the customer. Beyond that we have had to adapt to carrier and vendor software changes, which sometimes has challenges that occur when these changes are rolled out. When these challenges impact our clients directly, we must get directly involved to navigate through the issues. This has taken up a lot of manpower and time for our staff. Despite these headaches, we have experienced a successful 2021.
Do you have a new tip or best practice you have learned and want to share?
The best practice/advice I would like to pass along is to develop a process, trust the process, and keep an open mind. This applies to anything in life really- when you are willing to learn and be coachable it can help truly master your craft. We have made numerous changes in our sales procedures that we developed with some help from both the SIA of Northern Ohio team as well as what we learned through the commercial lines Business Insurance Advantage (BIA) program.
Why are you an SIA of Northern Ohio member?
We joined SIA of Northern Ohio for the resources it provided us both in terms of markets and product education. It allows us to be a more well-rounded agency which is a benefit to our customers. We also have been able to build great relationships with other agencies and with the SIA of Northern Ohio team. Our staff, production and customers are all better off thanks to our SIAA membership.
What makes your agency unique?
What sets our agency apart is how we stay connected with our clients 24/7. This has become even more relevant since the pandemic as most of our customers have cell phone access to our agents. We have staff that field phone calls during all hours and weekends. 9AM-5PM is simply when the office doors are unlocked, but in a sense, we are always open. We pride ourselves on being a full-service agency where any voice that picks up the phone can help you with your insurance needs.
What causes does your agency actively support?
We support the growth of our local economy and are active members of the Erie County Economic Development Corporation, Huron Chamber of Commerce, and Entrepreneur Organization of Cleveland. We pride ourselves on being industry leaders in our area. We have helped give back to the community this past year by donating to various local organizations. We also made a significant investment in the community constructing our new building (along with another entity with shared ownership) in the city of Huron.